I believe song sequencing is a critical - and sometimes THE critical - aspect of putting an "album" (what exactly does that mean now?) together.
In this next mix-and-match phase of music consumership, sequencing will be strictly personal. Is this progress? Sure it is, but something is always lost in the great march forward. When there is no "official" sequencing of an album, we have lost another common experience.
Coincidentally, I just received the new, lavishly expanded Deluxe Edition of Who's Next , and with thoughts of seminal albums past swimming in my head, spent last night checking it out - LOUD. It's still nothing less than classic.
As a critic, collector and historian, the bonus tracks, alternate takes, and especially the live material on disc 2 from The Young Vic are edifying and fascinating, but my prejudice was also confirmed: there is magic in the nine songs in the original order, flowing, commenting upon one another, the succession of tracks building a cathedral, an indivisible structure most certainly NOT granular in its holistic majesty.
I can (and do, too often) hear "Baba O'Riley" "Bargain" "Love Ain't For Keeping" "My Wife" "The Song Is Over" "Getting In Tune" "Going Mobile" "Behind Blue Eyes" and "Won't Get Fooled Again" in all their anthemic glory on classic rock radio, but each is diminished in the absence of the other.
Taken separately, out of order, in alternate versions, the songs are a series of comfortable, upscale bungalows: taken together they unitarily reach and soar above the clouds, an edifice against entropy.
Keith and John: we miss you more than you'll ever know, but we'll never miss you as much as Pete and Roger do - without you, The Who are just a shadow.